Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tall things and The Shard

click photo to enlarge
It was wind turbines that first prompted the realisation that tall things - I mean very tall things - look tallest when seen from afar. There's a wind farm not too far from where I live, and, though I know that the ground to blade tip height is 100m regardless of where I'm standing, they still appear to be bigger when I'm two miles distant, and bigger still when I'm 5 or more miles away. It must be something to do with the fact that at those sorts of distances the real difference between a house or a tree and the turbine is always clear. However, when I'm closer a nearby tree looks relatively tall when viewed with a distant turbine.

The same is true of the the Shard, currently the tallest building in London. When seen from my car on the M11 where it passes over the hills north of London the Shard appears to tower over most of the tall buildings of the city, its distinctive, pointed shape catching the eye. However, from within the city its relative height seems less - at least to my eye. With the Shard I think there is another factor at work: the tapering shape makes it less massive in fact and in appearance when you are nearby. I photographed this building at reasonably regular intervals as it was being built, and took a few shots from the location of today's image (the ludicrously named More London). This recent shot was prompted by the silhouettes of people in the canyon-like cleft that frames the Shard, and also the bright red crane stretched across it. Building in London never stops and a recent news article pointed out that there are currently 436 tall buildings (over 20 storeys) in the pipeline for the capital of which 233 have planning approval.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title:  The Shard Seen From More London, London
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 14mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On